I often hear people ask, but what can I do. My own sister asked this question a week ago after listening to me go on and on for the thousandth time about how we’re not doing enough. So, I’ve made a list. It’s long. It’s not complete.

First, begin by looking at how you live. Our lives are different. My list below is just preliminary and based on my observations. But a key point is don’t wait for a broken government to fix your problems. Don’t wait for a lawmaker to force you to begin implementing the solutions today. Don’t put off the changes you have control over in your life today.

  1. Remember, you’re not entitled to everything you like. You’re. Not entitled to convenience and comfort. Stop accepting that it’s okay that your lifestyle might cause others pain and suffering. Acknowledge that. OWN IT. And stop accepting it.
  2. Stop flying
  3. Organize a climate protest. Join a climate protest.
  4. In the winter keep your heat at 55 F. Yeah, that’s cold. Put on extra layers of clothes. Figure it out. Adapt.
  5. In the summer keep your AC set to 78. Yeah. That sucks. It’s uncomfortable. Turn on more fans. Keep a fan near you. Splash cold water on your face. Do less in the heat of the day. Figure it out. Adapt.
  6. Turn your hot water heater down
  7. Eat less meat. Eat no meat. Stop wasting food.
  8. Stop buying products that come in plastic. If it comes in plastic you don’t buy it. Look for ways to minimize all of your waste. Yes, this means you often will have to do without things you like. You’re not entitled to everything you like.
  9. Stop driving. Or drive less. Lobby your local government for bicycle racks, for bicycle infrastructure. Ride your bike.
  10. Just do less. Much of the change we need is people doing less. Stay home. Do something in your neighborhood. Stop assuming you’re entitled to eating out, vacations and the sort of lifestyle so many assume they are entitled to. If it involves the burning of fossil fuels for travel.
  11. Don’t consume stuff you don’t need.
  12. Participate more in your government. Join or start a group that is advocating for better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Get a bike. Ride a bike for transport. Don’t make excuses for not doing so. If it’s not safe or you have physical limitations that’s okay, but don’t drive when you don’t HAVE to. DON’T DRIVE WHEN YOU DON’T HAVE TO.
  13. Treat your automobile as a necessary evil rather than a glorified cultural icon that brings social status and pleasure.
  14. If you must use an automobile make it count, get the most out of the carbon you are adding to the atmosphere. Minimize trips to stores. Buy as much as possible and stock up.
  15. In the summertime minimize baking and cooking during hot weather. Shift your diet to things that can be prepared without heating up a house from the inside.
  16. Share resources with neighbors and families. Don’t upgrade devices just because you want to. Live with what you have and repair, reuse, recycle everything. Treat “trash” as a resource because it is. Re-think your idea of “waste”.
  17. Stop growing grass lawns. Plant more native wildflowers for habitat. Plant fruit trees and fruit bushes.
  18. Examine your privilege. Make it a point to learn about how your life compares to that of others. The top 10% don’t seem to have taken much time to truly understand the context of how others live on the planet. Make it a point to understand how your lifestyle has caused pain and suffering to others. Yes, I’m repeating myself because it’s a point that warrants repeating.
  19. Understand that the things that you do matter. Both the positive and the negative. When millions of people repeatedly engage in behaviors that add carbon to the atmosphere it adds up. It adds up today and tomorrow and everyday going forward. Stop contributing to it.
  20. Work less, earn less, do less, spend less. Become okay with sitting on your porch and watching the birds. Take a walk. Help a neighbor fix a chair. In other words stay closer to home, help each other waste less. Find more value and meaning in the little things.
  21. Re-evaluate success and self worth. As it stands, success in wealthier nations equates to a negative. Get that. In a hyper-materialist-consumerist culture “success” as buying power is not a positive. Stop treating it like that.
  22. The climate emergency is a full blown emergency. Re-orient your life as though you were living in a real existential crisis. You are. Throw everything you’ve got at this. Encourage others to do the same. Sometimes you’ll be uncomfortable. Sometimes you’ll make others uncomfortable. That’s to be expected. We need to turn our lives upside down.
  23. Nothing about this is going to be easy. Accept that. It’s going to be messy. It’s going to hurt. It’s going to be difficult. This is why we have been avoiding it. We’ve made it worse. The longer we wait the harder, more painful it will get for everyone.
  24. Remember, we’re in this together. We’re in this together.